Upgrading the Array
This is a positive story about the upgrade of my NVMe based storage array, that is the highest storage tier on my workstation.
No Moving Parts
Trying to run a computer with minimum spinning parts has been a passion since before 1980. Actually in 1980 I already had a swap-less UNIX computer system that ran entirely in RAM memory.
That early UNIX system did have floppy disk storage of course (no hard drives until about 1983) but the mantra was already set.
Whenever possible: Do it in RAM Memory not disk
My computer storage hierarchy looks like this.
- At the top level are some NVMe disks striped together into a 4GByte/second plus array. This sits in a Windows Server evironment with Virtual machines running on top of that platform.
- The NVMe array is flushed every 24 hours to a physical disk set
- That Data Disk set is then sent to ...
a) A variety of 3 different cloud providers. But living in slow (sub Gigabit upload rate) England only the smallest critical fraction is uploaded
b) The Data Disk feeds a NAS
c) NAS backups get exported to a local disk which is updated and kept with a friend
d) The data disk also makes full mirror backups to external disks which are taken out of country.
The consequences are: SCREW UP your NVMe array and it percolates down and poisons all of your backups.
The NVMe array already contains over 80 years worth of photographs. Several Terabytes. If it was lost, or in any way corrupted, well, I would be more than upset
The Careful Upgrade
Existing Position, NVMe array is 3.64TB usable
Online I can see the new disk and add it online
Great the Array is now 4.54TB
Shall we extend the Array and then everything is ...
Ah wait, you see once the Virtual disk is created in the Storage Pool it can't be enlarged
So we will have to delete it all first . Damn!
So not unreasonably you can't delete the Virtual disk until the underlying (in this case) NTFS volume is first deleted.
Deleting the cache X: drive
What is this critical system partition?
It turns out that I had placed a token (never to be used one hopes) Paging file on the drive to be deleted.
Move the Paging file to the C: drive and reboot, then delete the X: using Disk Management. It is gone!
The Backups I Made
In addition to making sure all the usual offsite and NAS backups had completed, I made 2 extra full backups using the ancient product Total Commander
TC has the advantage of copying files (when configured) with the correct creation date and time from the original. Windows and many other programs lose this information.
NTFS not ReFS must be selected otherwise Dropbox cannot reside here, and it should because by definition this is the fastest storage tier on the system.
On restart of Dropbox it decided that the empty directory on the workstation meant it should therefore cascade delete every file on Dropbox everywhere!
Dropbox does have a 30 day restore, but of course it gets the file and directory dates wrong :-( So I had to restore these files from a backup
After some hours of manual checking, at random. I ran the SyncBackPro program in Simulation to see what files it thought were more uptodate on the new NVMe array. I had made a few photo uploads that day and so I was delighted to see that these few files were more uptodate on the source NVMe array.
It worked then!
The Array is now 1TB larger and all the original data is restored.
I can rest easily again.
Until the next upgrade :-)